We are more blessed than most to be living in St. Charles County today. I often like to describe St. Charles County as “Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise.” Some may challenge this claim - and while we always have room for improvement, before you dismiss it let me share some supporting facts.
In the latest 2016 county health rankings, St. Charles County ranked #1 out of 115 Missouri counties. This is the 7th year in a row St. Charles County has ranked in the top 3 for the healthiest in the state. There are many factors that go into the ranking, and you can find more information at www.countyhealthrankings.org.
When it comes to wealth, St. Charles County accounts for 6.6% of the state’s economy, ranking 3rd behind St. Louis and Jackson County, and is the richest county in Missouri with a median household income of $71,077, as reported in the February 20, 2016, edition of the St. Louis Business Journal. At more than 80%, St. Charles County also has one of the highest rates in the country for homeownership.
That brings us to wise. Missouri ranks 32nd out of 50 in education with 88.9% of adults having a High School Diploma and 27.5% with at least a Bachelor’s Degree. St. Charles County compares at 92.6% of adults with a High School Diploma and 41.4% with at least a Bachelor’s Degree. Our county is also one of the top 25 in the nation for high-tech jobs, according to the Progressive Policy Institute, with 19.4% growth from 2011-2014.
Now you understand why I say we are “Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise.” But, if we are to continue to lead the way in these three important areas, we cannot just stay satisfied with sitting back and taking in the amazing growth and progress our county has seen over the past 25 years. There are small things each of us can do individually that, collectively, will work to make our community even better over the next 25 years. Here are some ideas:
- To stay healthy, try going for a walk in one of the amazing parks in our county after dinner or over the weekend. You have made a great investment in our parks system, and it is one of the best in the country. Check them out!
- All of our healthcare systems in the county offer smoking cessation programs. When you couple quitting smoking with a county park walking program, your health will greatly benefit.
- Just three percent of the U.S. population has a library card - consider adding one to your wallet because St. Charles County has one of the best library systems in the country. You will be amazed at everything you can borrow for FREE at your local branch. They have so much more than books. Go check it out – literally – and expand your mind!
- If you have ever thought about starting a small business, there are many resources available to help from the EDC, SBA, University of Missouri Extension, St. Charles Community College, Lindenwood University, and yes, even the library.
So, take a moment to soak in your amazing standing in the state, St. Charles County, but once that moment passes, join me in making a commitment to be even better. It’s all up to us, but we are off to a great start.